The Women’s Balcony (2016)

My father broke with the religion of his birth, Judaism, when he was 14. Three factors drove his apostasy, two practical, one philosophical. During my grandfather’s Austrian childhood, a rabbi boxed his ear for an infraction of one of a  ...

After the Storm (2017)

Hirokazu Kore-eda has seemingly inherited the role of chronicling Japanese middle class domestic life from Yasujiro Ozu. That isn't to say their sensibilities are similar. Kore-eda is less formalist and more conventional than Ozu, but both have a keen eye  ...

KEDi (2016)

Big cities in the warmer latitudes--Rome and Athens come to mind--all seem to have their cadres of "street cats": not-quite-feral felines who get by with occasional help from their human friends. But no city I'm aware of has the kind  ...

I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

Raoul Peck takes a unique approach to documenting the meditations of the late Harlem-born author James Baldwin, who lived as an expatriate in Paris for most of his adult life. Peck gives thirty pages of the writer’s observations over to  ...

The Salesman (2016)

Using the device of a play within a movie, Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) this time brings us a whodunit set in Tehran. A young couple, Emad Etesami (Shahab Hosseini), and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), are actors who play Willy  ...

The Comedian (2016)

“I always thought of the joke as a superior way of telling the truth.”—Emily Nussbaum, “New Yorker,” January 23, 2017 Robert DeNiro plays Jackie Burke, the title role comedian who is the embodiment of all frustrations associated with his  ...

The Best Films of 2016

2016 was an exceptional year for movies, as well as refreshingly diverse. The upcoming Oscar Awards show will thankfully be showcasing an array of stories and the talents of more than just whites- behind and in front of  ...

BEST OF 2016: MOVIES

Many films are well-made, but the ones that land on my own personal Top 10 each year have something more: some memorable element, some unique quality or emotional connection that reverberates down deep -- a special something that  ...

Fire at Sea (2016)

Lampedusa is a Mediterranean island midway between Sicily and the coast of Africa. Those who live there are fishermen of Italian extraction. Considering that their lives are only as secure as the next catch, life on Lampedusa is ordinary. The  ...

20th Century Women (2016)

The statement-making title, 20th Century Women, belies how small a film this is despite its ambitiousness. This is the story of a liberal 55-year old divorced mother Dorothea (Annette Bening) in 1979 Santa Barbara who is having trouble figuring out  ...